LONDON, United Kingdom —Under-the-radar outerwear brand 66˚North has snagged backing from one of the most powerful families in fashion.
Mousse Partners Limited, the New York-based fund controlled by the family that owns Chanel, has come on board as a strategic investor. The investment will boost 66˚North’s ambitions to expand across the globe.
Founded in Iceland in 1926, 66˚North started life manufacturing clothes to protect fishermen from harsh North Atlantic weather. The brand still maintains its focus on performance wear, but has its eye on the fashion market. In the last year it's teamed up with cult Danish brand Ganni to collaborate on a capsule outerwear collection, which will get a refresh for the Autumn/Winter season. The brand is already available at Printemps in Paris and KaDeWe in Berlin and will launch on MatchesFashion this Autumn.
66˚North’s ambition is to “redefine the category in the same way athleisure has redefined athletic wear,” said former Net-a-Porter Managing Director Matthew Woolsey, who will join the company in a newly-created role of global president in July. “Both from a functionality and aesthetic standpoint, there’s a big opportunity for a breakthrough...that kind of product really doesn’t have a limit.”
The company joins Mousse Partners' broad portfolio of investments. The New-York-based family office is run by Charles Heilbronn, half-brother to Chanel’s Alain and Gérard Wertheimer. Other fashion-related investments include specialty beauty retailer Ulta, Bonobos and clean-beauty brand Beautycounter.
Alongside the investment, 66˚North has brought on board Woolsey to bulk up its management team. The former Net-a-Porter managing director brings with him years of experience managing digital growth. Before his role running day-to-day operations at the luxury e-tailer, Woolsey was executive vice president of digital at Barneys New York. He will establish a second headquarters in London and focus on building up the brand’s digital and logistics infrastructure to enable international expansion.
“This can be a really exciting global brand,” Woolsey said. “The opportunity is to change what technical can be.”